La Nina prompts summer flood warning


Parts of Australia’s east coast still cleaning up after widespread flooding earlier this year are being warned to prepare for more deluges.

Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said plans for further mitigation measures had begun in areas at risk of flooding as some communities continued to bounce back from earlier natural disasters.

The Bureau of Meteorology has declared a third La Nina in a row for Australia’s east coast and forecast further rainfall and inundation.

Senator Watt said repeated flooding in areas already hard hit by previous disasters could not be ruled out.

“Areas where we have seen flooding in Queensland and NSW over the last couple of years, unfortunately are again faced with the risk of more,” Senator Watt told ABC radio on Thursday.

“But really, anywhere on the east coast and anywhere in northern Australia is at risk from heavy rainfall.”

“People’s resilience is really being tested. That’s why we’re out there as early as this, trying to let people know about what we’re facing.”

Senator Watt said the Commonwealth was working with state governments to resolve accommodation issues for displaced residents in flood-affected communities.

“One of the real challenges we’ve had this year is that some of the regions that were affected by those floods were already experiencing very big housing shortages before the floods came along,” he said.

“We have been working with the state governments about what the plans are around people who are not living in permanent accommodation at the moment, to make sure that there are flood plans in place.”

Emergency services were criticised for being too slow to act during the first round of flooding in March.

The government said it was confident future response times would be better

Senator Watt said Australian Defence Force personnel would be on standby to assist during summer but should not be thought of as a turnkey solution during natural disasters.

“We do need to be careful to not overuse them because they’ve obviously got a range of other responsibilities,” he said.


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